… known by those of us at this side of ‘the pond’ as Autumn, came so fast upon me this year that I find myself already at the boundary of Autumn and Winter. Nearly all the leaves have fallen and although some apples shaken off, still lie on the ground in ‘well-off’ places, most have been gathered up and made into pies and jams or shared among friends. The days are shorter, the nights longer, rain is colder and we look forward to our time of hibernation with evenings in front of the fire, curtains drawn and a proper excuse for hot chocolatey drinks.
In our Autumn 2016 ezine we talked about all the beautiful sides of the season, reflecting on Keat’s poetry and his ode to this time of the year, of the colours in nature, and of harvest and plenty. In this one, I can’t help but point out the other bleak and devastating effects that the weather, at this time of year, can bring.
Most of us not affected too badly by hurricane Ophelia a month ago will have put it to the back of our minds and got on with our lives. For others the effects will not have been forgotten. The people who lost loved ones, will be grieving their loss, and even more so as Christmas approaches, with the stark reminder of the empty chair at the table.
Those still recovering, who were injured in helping others when the winds came raging will not have forgotten. Others still who were evacuated during a night when Ireland saw one of its worst storms, because of tidal surges causing flooding to their homes. Those people who are still struggling with the aftermath of damage caused by uprooted trees, dealing with insurance companies and trying to rectify the damage to their homes and property.
There was also economic loss with businesses closing, sending staff home for their safety, and you might say it’s only one day, but for small businesses any day where there is payment to staff without production, means big financial loss and can take time for recovery or can cause problems with cash flow.
Some of us were a little inconvenienced, with power outages. Flights were cancelled causing travellers to be stranded at airports, not only tourists affected but students, making their way home for autumn break but most of those things we can put behind us.
Also, some of us cope better than others when trouble comes. However, our attitudes can vary widely. At this part of the world, the cultural sense of humour comes into play at times of crises. ‘Sure it’ll be grand’ ‘By the time it hits Ireland it will just be a bit more windy rain’, were among Irish/Norn Irish clichés heard from many who were kinda worried, but covering it up with some type of false hope/humour.
Others fearful of the impending doom, not venturing out their back doors, cowering inside expecting the worst, sitting wondering if their roof tiles would fly off or worse that branches would come striking in. At the other extreme perspective, some decided to go surfing in the waves produced by the hurricane. They saw it as an opportunity for pleasure, not taking into account that they were putting not only their own lives in danger, but those of the rescue services.
But it also showed humanity at its best with homeless shelters providing accommodation for those in emergency situations and neighbours helping each other.
And not forgetting the very very last minute decision of schools closing in Northern Ireland, which brought joy to many teachers, who danced at the prospect and threw working parents into disarray! But on the whole, we are back to thoughts of Christmas shopping and holidays, Ophelia long gone from minds, unless the ones affected by it.
It made me think of how prepared we are for the storms in our lives.
What contingency plans do we put in place?
Do we go along just doing the next thing, reacting to what comes our way?
Do we wait until the calamity comes, or do we make provision for it?
And even with our best plans, we can’t forecast every eventuality.
So maybe it’s also important to think about how we view the situation,
how we will manage it, and how we adapt to change and move forward better informed for the time of change or storm that crashes into our lives.
Who or what do we put our trust in?
In these Javelin Success e-zines, I write about the practical, emotional and physical issues of every day life as how I see them unfold, and ask you questions in order to reflect on them rather than answering them.
But if you are interested in more exploration and answers from the biblical perspective, into the deeper issues of our lives feel free to sign up for the Feed My Sheep ezines at firstname.lastname@example.org